containing a lot of black sand can be difficult to pan.
If the black sand is mostly magnetite, magnetic separators like the one above can be useful for removing it.
Because magnetite can attracts itself in a magnetic field, it might be possible for fine gold to get trapped between grains of magnetite. If a magnetic separator is used and the magnetite discarded, fine gold could be lost. Or could it?
That's what this page will attempt to answer through the following experiment:
Starting with a cup of pure black sand:
...twelve pieces of gold were added and mixed in.
There was one +8 pieces, one +12 piece, one +20, one +30, two +50 pieces, three +70 and finally three -100 pieces of flour gold. After being thoroughly mixed into the black sand...
...the standard six-bin separating system was used, where in a sample of the black sand is picked up by the magnetic separator from the first bin, moved to a second bin, deposited, the bin shaken, the magnetic separator used to recollect the magnetite, moved to the next bin and repeated until all of the black sand has been transferred to the sixth bin. The gold, being non-magnetic, should have been left behind in one of the previous bins.
After doing this, the bins were examined. It turned out that all but two of the twelve pieces were left behind in the first bin. Only two of the +70 pieces were carried into the second bin.
What this test strongly suggests is that using a magnetic separator to remove magnetite is safe and has minimal probability of losing any gold, even the finest flour gold, assuming a six-bin separating technique is used.
Visitors wishing to watch videos about gold prospecting may do so by clicking on the following link:
BACKYARD GOLD PROSPECTING
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